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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

New dean aims for transparency and open communication

Brent Carbajal says Paredes’ leadership experience was the deciding factor for her appointment as the new dean. // Photo by Colton Redtfeldt

By Colton Redtfeldt

Paqui Paredes Méndez has been appointed dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Paredes will begin her term on July 23, according to an article in Western Today. She will serve a fixed two-year term.

Paredes is a Spanish professor and chair of Western’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages. She also served as co-chair of Western’s Strategic Planning Committee for 18 months, according to Western Today. She has worked at Western for 16 years.

Her appointment was decided on the leadership experience she gained while serving on those committees, Brent Carbajal, Western’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in an email.

“My work as a member and co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee has allowed me to gain an overall vision of the university that I certainly did not have prior to this work,” Paredes said in an email. “I believe this will be extremely helpful in my role as dean as well.”

Paredes said being the chair of the languages department has given her the chance to lead a diverse department. She said this will help her lead a “large and diverse college” like the CHSS.

Senior Lilly Parsons is a Spanish major and has taken many classes with Paredes.

“I’m not surprised at all about Paredes’ appointment,” Parsons said. “She is a wonderful professor with high expectations for her students as well as herself.”

Paredes will succeed current dean Brent Mallinckrodt, who will be stepping down from the position at the end of the year, according to a March article by the Western Front. His term started in April 2016.

Throughout Mallinckrodt’s term, faculty had expressed concern over Mallinckrodt’s performance, according to a July article by the Western Front.

Notably, the history department passed a resolution of no confidence in May last year. According to an email sent by Kevin Leonard, former chair of the department, the department was concerned about a lack of support for diversity in faculty and curriculum, failure to advocate for department needs, a lack of transparency and a lack of commitment to shared governance with faculty.

Paredes said she plans to avoid a similar situation by openly communicating with everyone.

“Trust is something that I will need to gain and nurture with every step taken in this new position,” she said.

She said she wants to communicate the “whys and hows” of the decisions she makes as dean.

Paredes said she is excited to learn more about what faculty, staff and students in the CHSS see “as imperatives for the college, its departments and its programs to thrive.”

“A dean takes a leadership role at both the collegiate level and the university level,” Carbajal said. “Dr. Paredes’ experience affords her perspective that will serve her well in both roles.”



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